Spring Calls For Picnics

In All, Eat Better by Cara Bailey

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Enjoy Mother Nature

When the weather breaks, people can hardly wait to get outside and enjoy mother nature. It is time to take our family and friends camping, hiking, or to the beach or lake. Even getting out in our backyards for a meal can seem like a welcome break from the daily norm. When we take food outdoors or a bit of a distance from home, we are putting ourselves at risk of contracting foodborne illness. There is no better way to ruin a weekend away then feeling sick to the stomach. Take some simple steps to ensure you keep your company and yourself safe.

When To Discard Food

The two most important rules to remember are that if the weather is hot, above 90 degrees, that food should never sit out of refrigeration for longer than an hour. After an hour, it needs to be discarded. If the temperature is less than 90 degrees, you have about two hours for the food to sit out before it needs to be discarded.


In order to keep your meals the safest, proper planning is important. Have plenty of ice or gel packs ready to go and sturdy coolers. Make sure to pack coolers directly from the refrigerator or freezer (frozen food will stay cooler longer). If you are packing food for the entire day or for a long car ride, it is best to pack drinks separately so that you don’t open the cooler as many times and the food is able to stay as cool as possible. Remember that a full cooler will stay cooler for longer than a partially packed one, so if it is only half full, pack the rest with ice and gel packs. Keep cooked foods wrapped separately from foods meant to be eaten raw.

When you get to your destination, either prepare food or store it right away. And remember, when in doubt, throw it out!

I hope your summer is full of fun and lots of memories. Enjoy it!